Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Pale “Game of Shadows,” Wherein I Vent Some Frustration

Last year’s sequel to Sherlock Holmes was a true let down. Do not misunderstand. It is a well-made, high quality movie. However, it will be on my list of the most disappointing films of 2011 for one particular reason: the title.

If this had been “Victorian Era James Bond: A Game of Shadows” or “Rambo’s Great Granddad: A Game of Shadows” then it might have been easier to accept for the great action flick that it was. Instead we are left wondering: “where is the mystery?” And, “who is that man everyone is calling Holmes?”

Holmes can and should be a man of action. This is not a betrayal of the books. However, for the most part in print those adventures where Holmes is called upon to act the role of international spy happen away from Watson. We only ever hear about them second hand and as background for the main mysteries. The first film did a good job of showing the active Holmes we see in stories like “The Hound of the Baskervilles” but still playing the role of the sleuth. Here in “Game of Shadows” Holmes has become a buffoon, and the mystery elements are either self-evident to him or, when deduction is required, left to Watson to sleuth out.

The first film had a vast conspiracy involving a secret cult and a seemingly supernatural evil that had to be exposed by Holmes. Here, we get his arch enemy—his mental equal—the Lord of Crime—and he turns out to be nothing more than your run of the mill arms dealer and war monger. Instead of clues and a trail of connections to be followed to a solution, we get a series of set pieces where our characters simply react and survive. They are not active puzzle solvers; they are victims of circumstance who fall into (literally) a resolution.

1 comment:

  1. THANK YOU! I stopped telling people that I didn't like it because of their reaction to me: What??? It was way better than the first!

    This is a very good, well thought out review!


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